Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day...our 45th


There have been several instances over the past few weeks that gave me a chance to think about our marriage of 45 years. First, because we celebrated our anniversary while we were in Florida...where we honeymooned; second, because it is Valentine's season; and third, because there was a piece written in the Wall Street Journal this week by a young person who asked rhetorically if he had married too young at age 22.

Aleene was asked by a soul whose success at marriage was not that good, to what she credited our 45 years? That began a discussion between us that went on for several days. Luck was one of the ingredients, for sure, as were some measures of integrity (we would talk about these things in our two mile walk), but several days after the conversation started, Aleene stated her profound belief that she could not have made it with a chauvinist. To which I replied that I felt it was a privilege to live with a woman and a fellow better darn well respect her as part of the deal.

The WSJ article spewed out the statistics that couples that wed between ages 22 - 25 have the second best chance of not being divorced...that would be our cohort...and went on to surmise why that might be when the success rate of marriages younger than 21 were atrocious. (The best stat is over 25, but that only improves ones success rate by four percentage points.) All the time I was reading the article my mind was whirring about how this all applied to our situation and success as we moved closer toward 50 years.

Fifty has been a goal of mine ever since I heard my brother Joe say (way back when) that he told his bride, Shirley, that he would commit for 50 years and after that all bets were off. Then he would laugh. Well, they made it 50 years just before he died. Brother Dave made it to fifty with Tillie before she passed and Aleene's brother Don and his wife Roberta passed fifty as did my sister Phyllis four years before her husband Bruce died. So you see, there is family tradition to uphold. (Brother Jim and his Nancy are just 8 months ahead of us and they should make 50.) The reality is that neither my parents (38) or Aleene's (49) ever made their Golden Anniversary. So that has always been a goal of mine.

Our Thursday morning men's group this week considered Paul's letter to Corinthians where he discussed love as being patient, kind, not puffed up, etc. There I sat with eight other guys and only one of them had been married less than me. We had an interesting discussion. I love listening to our oldest member (86) discuss subjects such as love and faithfulness. He and his wife have been married 65 years and started as 21 year olds (also speaks well to the above mentioned stats.)

What is my conclusion? Not sure, but there are some observations: We have never known "conflict" of the type that would stress a relationship. We have changed over the years, of course, but we had good role models and never put demands on each other. Our expectations were always reasonable, but we never thought that we had to stay together only because we vowed we would. I have truly enjoyed our journey (Aleene makes such good choices.) I am glad we are on the right side of the statistics for our age of marriage group and that we can celebrate Valentine's season more frequently than just February 14th.

P.S. I might have some 'splainin' to do when Aleene reads this post. :-)

1 comment:

Margaret said...

This was fun to read...Steve and I reflect often about the excellent role models we had around us growing up...how the community we witnessed contributed to who we are...And I believe the integrity of the person we marry has a great deal to do with our success...Thanks Uncle Tom for sharing...M.